March 2012, Vol. 13, No. 2

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Child Welfare Research

Citizens Review Panel Examines Removals

The Washington, DC, Citizens Review Panel published the findings of its examination of the Child and Family Services Agency's (CFSA's) child removal and decision-making policies. The report highlights 17 findings and seven recommendations for improvement. 

Between 2006 and 2010, approximately 18–35 percent of Washington, DC, children removed from their homes reunited with their families within 4 months. The quick reunification timelines brought into question the necessity of the removals.

The panel devised a five-person subcommittee to study 27 cases involving 41 children between February and April 2011. The panel concluded that while CFSA was right to be concerned for the safety of the child or children, removal was not always the correct intervention. It was also noted that the majority of children who reunited with their families did not suffer repeat maltreatment.

The panel found that:

The panel recommended that CFSA:

The Citizens Review Panel is a mandate of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. More information on the District's Citizens Review Panel is available on its website:

The full report, An Examination of the Child and Family Services Agency's Performance When It Removes Children From and Quickly Returns Them to Their Families: Findings and Recommendations From the Citizens Review Panel, is available on the panel's website:  (1 MB)

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